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Old 26-12-2013, 18:28   #1
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No Name harbor to Bimini

What is the preferred inlet to use leaving No Name harbour at night for Bimini? Is it Biscayne Channel inlet?

The charts show enough water in the Cape Florida channel but I see no markers. It would seem easier to just turn left out of the anchorage instead of working your way back to the Biscayne Channel in the dark.

5'10" draft, thanks.
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Old 26-12-2013, 18:42   #2
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Re: No Name harbor to Bimini

Go out the channel to the South/South East of No-Name, past Cape Florida, then pick up the channel coming from Stilts Ville leading to the ocean.
Been doing it numerous times, night and day and going both directions. There is some shallow spots that may find you at low tide, but they should not bite if you go slow.
Easy with a chart plotter, with compass and paper charts you need good visibility to pick up the correct markers with their blinking lights.

No need to go at night however: Go early morning, get to Bimini around 16:00 local time. Anchor of Radio Beach and go in to clear at slack tide next day. No stress, no sleepless nights crossing the stream..

If the boat is rolling at the beach, set out a spring for the anchor chain so as to pull the bow into the waves rather than the wind.
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Old 26-12-2013, 19:52   #3
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Re: No Name harbor to Bimini

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No need to go at night however: Go early morning, get to Bimini around 16:00 local time. Anchor off Radio Beach and go in to clear at slack tide next day. No stress, no sleepless nights crossing the stream..

If the boat is rolling at the beach, set out a spring for the anchor chain so as to pull the bow into the waves rather than the wind.
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Old 26-12-2013, 20:54   #4
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Re: No Name harbor to Bimini

Concur - channel is wide and easy going out of Stilts Ville, Fowey Rocks Light will be slightly S of your course - looks like you have a great weather window this weekend - out of the S/SE
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Old 26-12-2013, 21:24   #5
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Leaving No Name Harbor this morning I chickened out of the Florida Channel. I don't know the area, only saw power boats going out the Florida Channel and figured I would be safe rather than sorry. The 6-7 foot depths on the chart also worried me.

Took the long way out (Biscayne) instead. Was a little rough the last half mile out the channel and I was happy to have the extra water under my 5' keel.

Then again I've got three kids on board right now so my risk tolerance is low. After we escaped the rainstorms around Miami we had a beautiful broad reach down to Rodrigeuz Key.
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Old 27-12-2013, 13:44   #6
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Re: No Name harbor to Bimini

We have gone in and out past Cape Florida in the dark many times with our sailboat and a 6 foot draft. Always found plenty of water, even at low tide. The charts are good and if you stay in the spots marked 7 feet, you should not have a problem. At night we use our chartplotter or nav computer and both are accurate. Turn out the marked channel and stay inside the markers until past the last set, then we head for Bimini. Just made the crossing last February from behind Key Biscayne. Chuck
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Old 27-12-2013, 14:01   #7
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Re: No Name harbor to Bimini

Lots of water for 6 foot draft. Turn left out of No Name get to the tip of Key Biscayne (Cape Florida) and head for the large bunch of piles (red Marker #6). Done it night and day. Just watch out for sportfish wakes.
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Old 27-12-2013, 14:15   #8
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No Name harbor to Bimini

I did the Florida Channel (south of No Name) once and would not do it again. 7 feet of water is plenty for a 6 foot draft, until the wake from a sport fish, or other waves, comes along. I found myself waiting to hit bottom in the troughs. Wasn't worth the time savings for me.
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Old 27-12-2013, 14:42   #9
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Re: No Name harbor to Bimini

That cut was fun with an east wind and a ebb tide. Was a wild ride in.
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Old 30-12-2013, 17:34   #10
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Thanks for the info. We're currently hanging out in Ft Lauderdale doing repairs and building up our supplies.

I think we'll try to sail into the entrance during the day light, chart out a course , then follow it out in the dark.

I'm sure we could just sail straight there from Ft Lauderdale but since it's our 1st time I thought we'd try to get a little more south.

What's the opinion on leaving for Bimini for Ft-Lauderdale vs No Name?
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Old 30-12-2013, 17:36   #11
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Re: No Name harbor to Bimini

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Thanks for the info. We're currently hanging out in Ft Lauderdale doing repairs and building up our supplies.

I think we'll try to sail into the entrance during the day light, chart out a course , then follow it out in the dark.

I'm sure we could just sail straight there from Ft Lauderdale but since it's our 1st time I thought we'd try to get a little more south.

What's the opinion on leaving for Bimini for Ft-Lauderdale vs No Name?
You will actually be sailing south against the current and it will take a lot longer and keep you in the Gulf Stream longer. Chuck
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Old 28-01-2014, 07:29   #12
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Re: No Name harbor to Bimini

Did it once, going straight from Fort Lauderale to Bimini takes twice as long. Go South to Miami close to shore, the head over.
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Old 30-01-2014, 13:23   #13
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Re: No Name harbor to Bimini

Freerider,
When we departed from Miami, we always left at night for an early morning arrival in Bimini which allowed for any unforseen contingencies/delays along the way. We never anchored in No Name Harbor(a stuffy keyhole), but outside in the channel along Key Biscayne in 10-14 feet of water in a sand and gravel bottom. We took a LOP from our boat to R8 then followed the markers out the channel for a quick departure. We never saw less than 7.5 feet at low water and once I brought in a CT56 that draws 6.5 feet on a lumpy falling tide with no problems. However,for your departure, unless you have a S to W wind, it is a motor sail all the way. And, we are not fans of leaving in any type of Northerly, or a transitory wind(SW,W,NW) ,as we have seen the nasty side of the Gulfstream when the door closes. A better alternative, if you have time, is to leisurely sail to Rodriquez Key to stage and have a close reach(no motoring) all the way to Bimini. A better angle on the wind may be achieved leaving from Marathon with the stream on your broad quarter and an extra 4 knots ,at times ,to add to your boat speed most of the way with a good chance of a dolphin fish for a celebratory dinner. Although we have motored to Bimini in our earlier days-leaving from Miami, we prefer to sail and leave from Rodriquez or Marathon. It's a much nicer trip and a great sail. Good luck and good sailing.
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Old 31-01-2014, 11:45   #14
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Re: No Name harbor to Bimini

Going South (Marathon, Rodriquez, or Angelfish) will add miles, but the extra help from the Gulf Stream can add speed. Depending on how fast your boat is the extra speed may, or may not, offset the extra miles.

Also keep in mind that the Gulf Stream is suppose to be three knots, but that is just an average; it can be more or less.

I tend to think Angelfish Creek is the best starting point all things considered, but there is the issue of getting to the ocean side if you are on the gulf side; same skinny water issue you face from No Name.
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Old 01-02-2014, 08:27   #15
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Re: No Name harbor to Bimini

I think slower boats are better off starting further south. Faster boats can cross from Miami and can afford to fight the current a little. We left from Marathon on a slower boat. Normally cruise around 5.5 kts, but were 7-8.5 kts riding the stream.

Bimini is a great stop and when we went through two weeks ago the entrance was very well marked. We stopped at Bluewater Marina, a family business where the people are pros. JR knows exactly how to deal with the bleary eyed cruisers arriving after a Gulf Stream crossing. Watch the shoal south of the marina. It is marked on Explorer charts.

You should not plan on entering or exiting Bimini in an onshore (westerly) breeze or sea state. That's the only downside really. Bimini is a much more pleasant introduction to the Bahamas than Nassau.

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